As usual, you may go ahead and throw my theories out. Most of the time they’re never right anyway. Neither Jimbo Fisher or Dan Mullen will be taking over at Mississippi State. Mullen is reported to interview for the head coaching job at Syracuse while Fisher is nowhere to be found since being fired at Texas A&M. With Rivalry Week wrapped up this past Saturday, it was reported that Oklahoma offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby will be named the next head coach. What would Lebby bring to Mississippi State? Let’s find out.
Lebby has previous coaching experience in the SEC. He was Lane Kiffin’s offensive coordinator at Ole Miss for two seasons (2020-21) before returning to his alma mater. During the COVID year at Oxford, Matt Corral threw for 3,337 yards and 29 touchdowns. He was third in the SEC behind Mac Jones out of Alabama. Corral also led the Rebels to an Outback Bowl win over Indiana, including being named the MVP despite finishing with a 5-5 record. Corral had similar success the following season going 10-3 and leading the Rebels to the Sugar Bowl against Baylor.
Lebby returned to his alma mater at Oklahoma under new coach Brent Venables. Even with 6-7 record in 2022, quarterback Dillon Gabriel was second in the Big XII with 3,168 yards and 25 touchdowns. There was however much improvement this season throwing for 3,660 yards and 30 touchdowns leading the conference and also to a 10-2 record (7-2 Big XII). Wide receiver Drake Stoops led the league with 78 receptions and 10 touchdowns. Stoops was third in the conference with 880 yards.
With an offense almost similar to Mike Leach, you would have to hope Will Rogers will change his mind and withdraw from the transfer portal. Rogers was riddled with injuries for most of this season under Zach Arnett and his stats were way down from last season playing in only eight games. With Vanderbilt QB transfer Mike Wright in his senior year, things look to point to freshman Chris Parson as the next starter since he is the only other QB to see action. Needless to say, the Bulldogs will once again build from the ground up.
But Lebby’s recent success at Ole Miss and Oklahoma shows a lot of promise and most importantly, he is well aquatinted with MSU and Zac Selmon. Selmon worked in the athletic department for most of his career at Oklahoma with a stop at North Carolina in between. If they both team up at Mississippi State, you could see some Big XII style offense come to Starkville and hopefully rejuvenate excitement within the Bulldog fan base.